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Saga 2nd Edition in 6mm Age of Vikings – Twilight of the Thundergod

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I had a very  nice day at Salute yesterday, but have decided to reflect on that next week as I think his blog post is long enough – but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.”  More next week on this and some further on the progress on the Horka Project.

 

 

 

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Ok, one picture for now of what I think was the most stunning table on the day and it was simply based on the colour schemes used – it was very nice.  Yes other tables had more impressive buildings and clutter but in terms of overall visual appeal and artistry this was the one to beat on the day – I think colour and composition goes a long way and this one I think proved that point.   This was put on by “A Few Brits and the Hobby” and was depicting the Battle of Leros in 1943.  It was a demonstration game and was depicting the last successful German invasion of the war (WW2) when the island of Leros was taken in November 1943 as part of the Taifun operation (yes you are right another operation in 1941 was carried out with the same name).  From the guys own blur for the game “Despite being outnumbered by the defenders, the Germans managed to gain local numerical superiority in various small battles and used total air supremacy to defeat the enemy despite heavy losses.  Leros was another British disaster in the eastern Mediterranean and Germanys last major campaign victory in the region.”

 

 

 

 

back to the main theme….

I decided to start this blog on the back of doing a participation game of Saga in 6mm with the gentlemen from the eminent Meeples and Miniatures podcast (link here) for the Joy of Six in 2016.  The demo game was Saga in 6mm and I went all out and did starter armies (4pts) for the 12 factions from the three first books for the Age of Viking era (a total of 15 official Age of Vikings factions were produced for the first edition rules, if we exclude semi-official ones like the Skraelings, Revenant and Steppe Tribes).

This is the 100th blog update since the start and I felt it appropriate to do an update on Saga on the back of the Second edition being published earlier this year.  It is a long one but I do hope you will find it of some interest.

For this special occasion I asked Neil Shuck for a few words as a kind of preface (thank you Neil).

“When I had a conversation with Dave Luff on the podcast about the possibility of gaming Saga in 6mm, we had no idea of the forces we were about to unleash.
Dave was on one of his ‘it’s only a counter’ monologues, and with the fact that that very nice Mr Berry had just brought out some more of his Dark Age range, we were discussing the idea of being able to play Saga in a smaller scale, and what impact that might have on the game.  As with many of our ideas, it never got close to the painting table, so imagine our surprise when Per contacted us to say that he had taken our idea and moved it to the next level.

We may have planted the seed, but Per is a force of nature when an idea takes hold, and the rest is, as they say, history.  Per did a fantastic job creating all the forces, plus building the tables, and the games were very well received on the day.  More importantly, the game still works – if anything, the grander scale created by the smaller models gives it a more epic feel.  Congratulations Per, you have done a fantastic job with this.” 

– Neil Shuck, from the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast (link here).

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Here is a link to that very first blog post with a postscript that makes a few notes and links to the other relevant posts.  Note that the Factions are presented again in the text that follows, I will not repeat the information in the Part 6 to 8 sections about terrain, buildings and painting.

We had a blast on the day of the Joy of Six 2016 Show and Neil wrote about his experience on the Meeples and Miniatures webpage here and my report on the Roll a One blog is here.

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From the 2016 event – we ran two table – The Queens table and the Kings table (you can see the Lewis chess Queen overseeing the proceedings on this table and the king is blocked by the Sign overseeing the other).

It was a nice project to get done and all-in-all I did 2,474 miniatures in a total on 324 bases (25mm square).  Each base contained between 3 to 10 miniatures depending on type, but in general:

  • Mounted – Warlord 5, Hearthguard 4, Warrior 3
  • Foot – Warlord 10, Hearthguard 9, Warrior 8, Levy 4

After the show the Little One and I played a fair few games of Saga and we really enjoyed it.  We then drifted away to other things and the models have been left standing relatively still for a while (apart from a few sessions using the eminent Dux Brit rules from Too Fat Lardies, a test of the Sword and Spear Rules and a few games of Saga here and there).  In the beginning of the year (2018) Studio Tomahawk released the updated edition of Saga (I will call is Saga 2) – where there is a core set of rules and then a book for each era (e.g. Viking, Arthurian, Crusade, etc.).  I was debating on whether to get the new rules or not as we found the old ones more than satisfactory, but as I stated in an earlier blogpost.

I have all the old Saga books and I am aware this version will probably not blow me away in the same way as the first set, but it is on the basis of that very first set I bought the second edition. Saga is a fantastic game and I, and especially the Little One, want to be part of the ongoing process of making it even better.

I got the basic rule book for £8.50 (this contains the basic rules) and the Age of Vikings (this has the Viking factions and 12 battle boards) supplement for £25.50, which I believe is very competitive, from Dark Sphere (link here) with free postage (as at 14/03/18). That is a total of £34.

The original Saga Rules were typically sold for £25 and gave you 4 battle boards, three additional supplements (actually four if you count the campaign supplement) were produced cover the Viking Age at a typical total cost of say £42.  This gives a total comparative cost at £67 vs. £34.  So this new packaging is more cost effective, although the start-up cost is higher (£34 vs £25) as you need some battle boards to play the game.

The only thing that slightly irritated me is that there is only one base scenario in the basic rules – Clash of the Warlords, and that there are no specific scenarios in the source books  either – instead there will be a specific scenario book.  I really hope that this scenario book is something really special as I honestly think that some more scenarios could have been included in the basic rulebook or in the supplement(s) – so the comparison above is not fully a like for like.

On the back of having read the rulebook and the Age of Viking supplement and had a few games, I personally think it was worth the upgrade. I can use all of my existing models to play and the Saga Dice are the same (I have two sets of each type of dice as I used them for demo gaming and that allowed a higher number of combinations to be played over two tables at the same time) with one exception (the Last Romans, see below).

On the other if you have the old rules I am not sure I would be a position to strongly insist you should do or feel the same.  It is still Saga after all. However, I do hope that more supplements covering other Ages will be developed and made available on the back of this re-release.  The pictures of some Samurai warriors in the rulebook gives an interesting hint.

This blogpost will re-introduce the factions presented in those old blog posts, with what I hope are better pictures. In addition there are some changes to the composition and I have now enough figures to do starting warbands for the 10 of the 12 included in the Age of Vikings supplement.  I will further include some notes on changes to the rules (that only makes sense if you know the first edition) and finally show a few pictures of from some of the games we have played over the Easter Period with some friends and family.  I hope it is of some interest – it was nice to get them on the table again.

 Factions (4 pt Starter Armies)

 Anyway let us look at some of the miniatures (again!, note I do not have miniatures for two of the factions but are repeating the advice I gave in Saga in 6mm – Part 12).  All models, with the exception of the Irish Dogs, are from Baccus 6mm (link here) and the codes are from their catalogue to indicate what miniatures have been used.  The original picture showing the whole 4pt warband have been reused here, but I have also included close ups of each unit.  I am in two minds about this as I think 6mm is best shown in mass not as individual close ups (well I let you form your own opinion).  When you paint bulk and fast like I do for my projects it does not always look that great in a close up – but then why not.  All are on 25mm square bases, you may want to refer to that as an inch at your own peril of being 0.4mm out!

A few changes are noted in the text basically:

  • Reduction of a Battle Board (-3)
    • The Welsh and Stratchclyde Welsh now share a Battleboard 
    • The Normans and Bretons now share a Battleboard
    • Their is no longer a Pagan Prince board, but I assume this one is now assumed included in the Pagan Rus board (as one of their heroic options are a Pagan Prince)
  • Renaming of Battle Board (+/-0)
    • The Frankish board is now renamed the Carolignian board
    • The Byzantine battleboard is now renamed the Last Romans (and actually needs a set of dice I do not have (yet!) – the Roman/Briton dice that were introduced with the Saga Aetius and Arthur rules. 

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Anyway here are the Warbands:

Irish Starting Warband

The front figure are from the ALR04 Lanciarii (from the Late Roman Range) and a banner miniature I do not know from where. The two row of warriors are from EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen (vikings!).
These are actually two Hearthguard (Fianna) Units and I used the ALR04 Lanciarii (from the Late Roman Range) to represent these Javelin armed units.
These are my favourites they are the Warrior units and I used EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen (vikings!).
The Irish have the option to field a warrior unit of war dogs and who could honestly resist that? I needed to find some 6mm dogs. Baccus does not do any dogs but I did not need to get to any extreme measures as Perfect Six (link here) do some nice ones (and since I ordered my dogs they now also do wolves that could represent even more terrifying dogs – mine were border collies painted grey rather than the less intimidating Lassie look) so I ordered enough dogs to do 8 No. bases with 5 dogs and a dog handler on each. I used AMO01 Moorish infantry from the “Rome and Enemies range” for the dog handlers. These were leftovers from another project and I felt that the movement in these skirmish type figures were suitable to act as “leaders of the pack”. The war dogs may be more legend than reality but I think they add flair to the game.

Welsh Starting Warbands

I have two Welsh starting warbands as there were two separate boards in the first edition – one for Welsh and one for the Mounted Strathclyde Welsh.

Welsh

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For the Warlord I used the unarmoured spearmen (EMV02 – from the Viking code) fronted by 2 spearmen figures
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For the Hearthguards I used the unarmoured spearmen (EMV02 – from the Viking code) fronted by an individual model from the Late Roman lanciarii code (ALR04) to mark the units as being armed with Javelin .
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These warriors were made by using a front line of  models from the Late Roman lanciarii code (ALR04) to mark the units as being armed with Javelin, with a back line of the EMV02 Viking unarmoured Spearmen.
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A Javelin warrior unit bases on ALR04 – Lanciarii
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For the bonnedig (levy) I used Norman Archers (EMN05) – to get some balance versus all those Javelins.

Stratchclyde Welsh

Stratchclyde Welsh Warlord – Modelled with AG003 – Gothic Heavy Cavalry. For the miniature holding his hand up I have no clue.
Stratchclyde Welsh Hearthguard (Teulu) – AG003 Gothic Heavy Cavalry.
Stratchclyde Welsh Hearthguard (Teulu) – AG003 Gothic Heavy Cavalry.
Stratchclyde Welsh Warriors – AG004 Gothic Medium Cavalry.
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Stratchclyde Welsh Warriors – AG004 Gothic Medium Cavalry.

Scots Starting Warband

Scot Warlord – the mounted miniature a AG003 Gothic Heavy Cavalry, the man with the axe from the EMA05 – Saxon Leaders and command set, the first row of soldiers a mixture of figures from various sets, the backline from AG001-Gothic infantry
Scottish Hearthguard – AG001 – Gothic Infantry
Scottish Hearthguard – AG001 – Gothic Infantry
Scottish Warriors – AG001 – Gothic Infantry
Scottish Warriors – AG001 – Gothic Infantry

Viking Starting Warband

Viking Warlord – The mounted Vikings are from the EMV05 – Viking Luminaries and Loonies pack and the foot from the EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen pack.
Viking Hearthguard (Berserkers) – the hero models are from the EMV05 – Viking Luminaries and Loonies pack and the foot from the EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen pack.
Viking Hearthguard – the hero models are from the EMV05- Viking Luminaries and Loonies pack and the foot from the EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen Pack.
Viking Warriors – EMV01- Armoured Spearmen
Viking Warriors – EMV01- Armoured Spearmen

Norman / Breton Starting Warband

As for the Welsh this is now one Battleboards for what used to be two – the Normans and the Bretons.  The difference is that the mounted Hearthguards have Javelins.

Norman

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Charging cavalry (EMN01) was used for the Warlord (but with one of the fronting figures from the EMN06 – Norman Leaders pack).
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For the hearthguards (Knights) I used the Charging cavalry (EMN01)
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Another unit of Hearthguard (Knights) using the Charging cavalry (EMN01).
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The crossbow unit are Warriors so I decided to put 6 on each base (mainly as I only had one pack of 48 miniatures EMN07 – Norman Crossbowmen at the time and it divides nicely with 8, if you remember your times table).
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The archers are Levy and based on the EMN05 – Norman Archers

 

Breton

 

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For the Warlord I used EMN01 (Norman Armoured Cavalry) , however in doing it again I would have used the EMN03 (unarmoured cavalry) code for all mounted Breton units – to represent the more Javelin oriented Breton cavalry.
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For the Hearthguard unit I also used EMN01 (Norman Armoured Cavalry), with the same comment as for the Warlord above.
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Another Hearthguard Unit using EMN01.
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These are the Warriors using the EMN03 – Norman unarmoured cavalry code and represent the Javelin armed mounted Breton soldiers.
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These are the Warriors using the EMN03 – Norman unarmoured cavalry code and represent the Javelin armed mounted Breton soldiers.
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Javelin armed levy using ALR04 – Lanciarii.

Anglo-Danes Starting Warband

Anglo-Danish Warlord – Mixture of Leaders and personalities from the early medieval range as well as EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear.  Technically this should perhaps be a heavy weapon (e.g Dane Axe equipment and this is how we play and just remember it).
Anglo-Danish Hearthguard – EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear and leaders from
Anglo-Danish Hearthguard (Heavy Weapons) –  EMA02 – Huscarles with Axe
Anglo Danish Warriors – EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear (look at the unit in the front left, seems like someone did not listen to their orders)
Anglo Danish Warriors – EMA01 – Huscarles with Spear

Anglo-Saxon Starting Warband

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For the  warlord unit I used the Huscarls with Spear (EMA01) fronted by miniatures from the Saxon Leaders pack.
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For the hearthguard  I used the Huscarls with Spear (EMA01) again fronted by miniatures from the Saxon Leaders pack.
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For the warriors I used EMA03 – Fyrd Spearmen
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Another unit of warriors, again, using EMA03 – Fyrd Spearmen
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These are the Ango-Saxon shield and spear levy and I used a thin line of  Fyrd Spearmen (EMA03).

Carolignians / Franks Starting Warband

For the Warlord I used the Norman charging cavalry (EMN01).
For the hearthguards I used the Norman charging cavalry (EMN01).
Another hearthguard unit (EMN01).
A warrior unit using the Norman armoured infantry (EMN01).
As one warrior unit can be armed with Crossbow I did so with Norman Crossbowmen (EMN07).

Norse-Gael Starting Warband

 

 

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For these domesticated Vikings I used armoured Viking spearmen (EMV01) for the warlord unit (fronted with miniatures from the Viking and Norman leader packs – leftovers from EMV05 and EMN06).
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For this hearthguard unit (heavy weapons) I used the Viking axemen (EMV03)
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This Warrior unit is using the  armoured Viking spearmen (EMV01)
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This warrior (heavy weapons) unit is using Viking axemen (EMV03)
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The final warrior unit used the unarmoured Viking spearmen (EMV01) fronted by the good old Lanciarii (ALR04) as these are Javelin armoured warriors.

 

Jomsvikings Starting Warband

The warlord is using Armoured Spearmen (EMV01) fronted by mounted characters from (EMV05).  I used a uniform look for this legendary mercenary norse warrior warband which is probably not very likely – but I like the overall effect.
This is a Hearthguard, again using the Armoured Spearmen (EMV01) fronted by characters from (EMV05).
Another Hearthguard unit, same as above.
Warriors using the unarmoured spear (EMV02).
Again, Warriors using the unarmoured spear (EMV02).

The Last Romans (Byzantines)

Did not make this faction, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).

Starting Army: Mounted Warlord (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard with Bow (ASS02- Armoured Horse Archers), Warriors (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen), Warriors with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).

Pagan Rus

Did not make this faction either, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).

Starting army: Warlord (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), 2 No. Hearthguard (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), Warrior (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen) and Levy with Javelins (ALR04 – Lanciarii)

Starting Army (Rus Princes based): Mounted Warlord (CFR04 – Turcopoles), 2 No. Mounted Hearthguard (CFR04 – Turcopoles), Warrior (EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen) and Warrior with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).

Playing the Game

Changes to the 2nd Edition Rules

You may want to skip this sections if you have no interest in what the changes are between the two versions, as this only makes some sense if you are familiar with the rules.

When reading the two rules again side by side (pun not intended) a few changes can be noted between the versions.  In addition to what I will cover here the battleboards have changed but I have not yet analysed them and probably will not.  I have played most of the old battle boards at least once but would felt it a step too far for the purpose of this. Doing this review/rough notes took me longer than I wanted it to take, I do not pretend I believe it is complete and may have missed or misunderstood something:

  1. The Warlord model (base in our case) can no longer use the side by side ability
  2. Resilience ability now allows 1 fatigue to be taken instead of 1 hit  up to its limit (see below – but to lower your suspense it is now 3 fatigue markers for all units).  
  3. Only a Hearthguard model/base (within (S)hort distance) can be used to sacrifice/taking damage on behalf of the Warlord. 
  4. We obey ability now allows free activation of any action – not just movement. 
  5. The Warlord now has 8 attack dice (previous he had 5) and only generate one Saga Dice (previously it generated 2 dice)
  6. Heroic units gets the warlord abilities as well.
  7. Levies now generate Saga Dice if the unit has 6 or more figures – previously they did not generate any at all.
  8. Warriors generate Saga Dice if the unit has 4 or more figures – this avoids the 1 man warrior unit being withdrawn to generate Saga dide.
  9. The Saga Dices left on the battleboard from a previous round does not affect how many you roll in your next turn (unless the total of dice on the board + allowed Saga dice from units is higher than 8. As 8 Saga Dice is still the maximum in play at any given time).
  10. In combat you can use 2 fatigue to cancel an enemy activation
  11. You can spend 1 fatigue to reduce the movement of an unit activating to S(hort)
  12. In shooting you can spend more than 1 fatigue to decrease the defending units armour, and in melee the same and also for increasing the attackers armour.
  13. All units are now exhausted when it has 3 fatigue markers allocated to it (3 is the maximum accumulation allowed), this gives -1 to all attack dice.
  14. All units in a group fight if they are engaged with another unit.
  15. Movement is done in straight line (including charges/attacks) 
  16. Models (bases in this case) in a unit to stay within S(hort) from the first unit being moved – this technically means that levies at 12 models cannot create a long line. For our purposes not a big problem, we tend to play the units as 2 deep by 6 frontage (levies), 2 by 4 warriors and 1 by 4 for hearthguards.  This to simulate some kind of depth in shield wall concept typical for the “Age”.
  17. Movement is free (cost no Saga dice) if you are at L(ong) range away from any enemy and movement ends up L(ong) range from any enemy.
  18. Shooting – combat pool maximum at Step 1 at 8 dice, final maximum at Step 3 16 dice.  There is no limit on the number of defence dice that can be applied (previously twice the number of hit was the maximum).
  19. Meele – a unit can only be engaged with one enemy units. There is no longer a step 0 (the reaction abilities are no longer being used). Maximum combat pool is now 16 at Stage 1 and double at Stage 3.  As for missile there is no limit for the number of defence die than can be applied.  Defending unit may choose to Close Ranks and gain the effect of solid cover but only gets half of its normal number of attack dice (The old rule of sacrificing attack dice to get defence dice is no longer used).  Note this rule is not available to mounted, bow/crossbow armed units and heavy weapons (e.g. dane axes).  So perhaps a better name for the ability would be to “Form Shieldwall!”.  Defenders in solid cover never withdraw if they outnumber the attacking unit, other units may end up less than VS if there are terrain restrictions.
  20. If all the figures are in cover, the cover counts – if not it does not count.
  21. Dangerous terrain introduced – works like uneven terrain but also causes 1 fatigue to the unit.
  22. Changes to the dimension of the sizes of terrain – I let you go a figure this one, I do not tend to care about these things – sorry!.  It is getting late.
  23. Equipment /Weapons – clarification of modifications and restriction, changes to rules for composite bows (free activation and no fatigue), crossbow (+1 to attack instead of -1 to Armour, and can only shot once per turn), javelin (+1 melee attack dice when charging, an example of this is the classic roman infantry attack I suppose), there is a new improvised weapon category.

Playing it over Easter

We decided to play a few games over the Easter Period and we only used starter warbands and I used my 2 by 2 terrain tile (famous from sessions of Pikemans Lament last year) as this one can easily be accommodated in a house full to the brim of family and friends. As we had mixed familiarity of the rules this was sufficient to get a few games played, starting within direct engagement distance.

We play the rules exactly as written, one a base is the same as a base in the 28mm version, no adjustments for ranges of missile weapons or movement.

Here are a few pictures from these games, the games flowed nicely and went really well.

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The Easter set-up – all games played with the same terrain constellation and with the same opponents – Vikings vs Normans.  For the normans we used 3 units of 4 Knights/Hearthguards and a unit of 8 Sergeant/Warriors and the Lord himself.  The Vikings had a unit of 4 No. Hearthguard Berserkers and a normal 4 base strong Hearthguard unit, supported by two units of 8 warriors (and the Warlord himself, mounted on a horse but moving like a foot unit).
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The new rulebooks and  battleboards – they have the same feel as the old Crusade boards (if you are familiar with these).
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Let us ride down those Norsemen!
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I like the effect of this picture!
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I know there is only 1 No. One rolled here but I needed to roll 5 or more to hit, with 8 base and 3 bonus dice for my warriors. I hit shit all with that roll!

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Very powerful if used at the right time.  I got my warlord sacked by this ability being used.
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The Norse Warlord fighting unit of 4 Sergeants (Warriors)
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A Viking attack on the Norman Warlord
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The Normans breaking through my shield wall
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The Guys on the bench. It must have been when I played the Normans! A row of Hearthguard taken out!

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Conclusion:  Saga is still fun and works really well in 6mm whether you have the old or the new set of rules.  In its base it is a simple I go you go – you roll to hit and then your opponent rolls to save kind of game.  But with the addition of being able to use your opponents fatigue to gain benefits and the battle boards it is a unique game and I, and the Little One, really like it.  

Note: I have played six games with the new version and lost five. 

/ I hope that was of some interest, below two bonus parts one about music and the other some old Saga battle shots!

Bonus 1: Old Battle Shots 6mm in Action

Bonus 2: Music for you musings

In the original postings we included some recommended music whilst painting your warbands – so here are a few oldies and a few new ones

Amon Amarth starting with their Twilight of the Thunder God (that incidentially would be a fantastic title for a set of wargame rules in the Age of Vikings) followed by At Dawn’s First Light and Pursuit of Vikings – it does not get much more Viking melodic death metal than this.  This is perhaps not everyone’s cup of, sorry I meant horn of mead!

If that was too heavy for you do not despair there are some equally good options (youtube is full of this kind of things – should get your warbands done in an afternoon or give you plenty of inspiration to crush your opponents on the wargames table).

 

 

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Gaslands in 6MM – out of sight but not out of mind

GASLANDS IN 6MM

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Some time ago I was writing a few blog entries about doing Gaslands in 6mm and then it went quiet – we actually have played a fair few games and really enjoy it.

Anyway a little bit of summary of where we are at with this:

  1. Overview
  2. Games we have played on our Toxic Track
  3. Using Dropzone commander terrain
  4. Further ideas – Snowmobiles and Zombies

As I have said before I am not in a position to have a permanent set-up so prefer to do some of the games I play on smaller surfaces (say a maximum of 3 by 4 feet), so games like X-wing or Saga are great straight from the box.  Another way to achieve this is to convert a bigger scale game (e.g.28mm) from inches to centimeters (1″ becomes 1 cm) or by using half inches (1″ becomes 1/2″ or 1.27cm – not that difficult if you make special measuring sticks – a one time investment in time) – and using smaller scales for the miniatures. I did this for the Dan Mersey series of rules (e.g. here and here) and for Too Fat Lardies Sharp Practice (e.g. here) and it does work.  Yes it is a little bit more fiddly.

My original thoughts on doing Gaslands in 6mm – well actually more than thoughts – can be found summarised in a blog post I wrote earlier (Here).  After this I got myself some 50% movement templates that I bought from Bendyboards (link here, contact Lee and ask him for 50% if this is of interest) that produces the official Gaslands templates.  This in effect means that a 2 by 2 foot board equates to a 4 by 4 in full scale.

 If you want a good overview of the game, I think this review (link here) is a good summary and worth reading instead of me repeating something similar in content but less enjoyable and thorough.  I agree with the sentiment of this review.

TERRAIN FOR PLAYING THE GAME

Getting toxic

So far we have used the Toxic track I made some time ago to do our games, we played a fair few games just using a car each with front mounted machine gun, but we have now also done some games with 3 to 5 vehicles on each side.  I find that it produces different games – the single car race is about outmaneuvering and skill whilst the selection of vehicles tends to lead to a more skirmish fight situation – at least the way the Little One and I are playing.  Both version highly enjoyable.

Here is the terrain board again (2 by 2 feet) – we are ready to press the pedals very quickly with 2 minutes of so set-up time.

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It has some slimy pits that are best left alone.

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Here are a few shots from some of the games we have played.

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dropzone commander ruined city tiles

I actually came to the conclusion that the cars I ended up getting were probably closer to 10mm than 6mm scale – instead of 1/285 scale I found them being more like 1/200.  10mm normally is referred to as 1/160.   I then remembered the Dropzone commander rules and some cityscape terrain I had seen that looked decent – at least from what I was seeing.   I ordered a set of ruined city tiles and buildings for the Dropzone commander game.  It is a card board set in 10mm scale and I think this will work brilliantly as it may portray a section of a city where the level of radiation is too high for permanent inhabitation, or otherwise abandoned, and is now being used for Gaslands competitions.

You can find more information about it here.  It comes with 20 buildings and mats to cover 6 by 4 feet, so more than plenty for our needs. At £20 (reduced at the time I bought it 3rd April 2018, from £30) for the whole set (including delivery in the UK), hardly any significant outlay even if it is cardboard and we will probably end up knocking down the buildings whilst maneuvering our cars – but I will keep you posted on how this cardboard adventure will progress.

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Here is the full set as presented on the Webpage. Looks ok I would use some model trees for the park but otherwise good to go.  It is recommended that you mount the tiles on some sturdier board.

Here are some shots showing how the cars I am using compare in relation to the terrain.  I think it is a more than adequate fit and I think this terrain have some potential for a lot of different things.

 

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Really like this
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Spot on

 

In addition you can download more buildings for free on the webpage (here), but I think I will stick to these pre-printed ones as I am happy with the amount of terrain I already have in the basic set.  I suppose if you use these you could re-sixe them to fit to the scale you are using.

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Example of a printable free building for Dropzone Commander as the link above.

further gasland ideas

mutant 1984

I recently completed some Snowmobiles for my Mutant 1984 project, based on a matchbox model (“Snow Hopper”). I found these at a Poundshop for £1 each.

These are in “28mm” and I am planning on using Gaslands for a chase scene with some skiers, snowmobiles and some other snow vehicles, like the one in the picture below from Warlord Games – the Gaz 98 Aerosan (link here, picture from their webpage) and the skiers (link here, picture from their webpage). Still work in progress, so some time away from completion.  It is basically a “downhillish” race where a detachment of Pyri Commonwealth Scouts on skis are being spotted by some Borderguards of the Ulvriket Army on Patrol in the occupied Göinge during the cold Winter Year 109.

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6MM ZombieS

I also have some 6mm zombies that I need to paint to do the zombie scenario for my “6mm” cars, these are from Microworld Miniatures and I will be using Zombies and Ghouls (link to Microworlds Undead Range, here. Pictures from their Webpage).

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In summary we are having fun with these rules!, I hope you are too.

Next time is the 100th Roll a One blog entry.

/All the best, and by the way we had a guest font in this blog post it is called 28 days later and used in Gaslands – you can download it here.

 

 

Featured

Vulgar Display of Power – Just a little bit of progress on the Winter War Stuff

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Work is taking more than its fair share of my time at the moment, but it happens to most of us.  However, I have had some time to get some things done over the last week or so, this is just a summary of that.  As always, I do hope it is of some interest.

  • Chain of Command – dice, casualty markers and suppression markers
  • Gaslands – finally a game

Finnish and Sovietic dice

I am currently working on some terrain and markers for winter war Chain of Command.  I wanted to have some dedicated Finnish and Sovietic dice so looked around and found a fair few Sovietic options but only one Finnish (very nice ones, sold by Dice of War in Australia, see here). These are not specific ones needed for the game, just the type where the 6 is replaced by a unit or a country symbol and could therefore be used for any game that uses D6s. I wanted to have blue ones for the Finns and Red ones for the Soviets, and thought I could perhaps do some myself.  I found some 16mm blank dice on ebay and got myself a few different colours (these are from China so will take a week or two to arrive!, at least if you live in the UK).

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I then ordered some labels/stickers from Amazon (13mm).

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From Label Planets website (link here) you can get a word template for this label set and buy bigger quantities as well.  From this you can design your own labels.

I wanted to have 1 to 5 in the same font as used for the Chain of Command rules.  This font is called Vulgar Display of Power (download it here).  In addition I wanted the hammer and sickle for the Soviets and the hat emblem that the normal enlisted men had for the Finns, replacing number 6.

 

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Here is are the files with the sheet I made for the Soviets (Russian Dice) and sheet for the Finns (Finnish Dice), these are word files.  You can change these to add your own colours and symbols.

I have to admit that I had some problem with the laser printer I was using in aligning the sheet so that it printed out correctly (I wasted three sheets but luckily managed to get two done, which was all I needed)- the final result is not perfect and if you have trouble I can only say I am sorry.

This is how they turned out.

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I will make some yellow Sovietic ones and some white for Finns for Command Dice rolls.

Dead Soviets

One of the striking things with the Winter War are all the pictures of dead Sovietic soldiers especially in the fighting North of Lake Ladoga. Behind my romanticised view of the war and Finnish bias, I am not immune to the hell those Sovietic soldiers had to go through trapped on those wintery stretches of roads, with inadequate supplies of just about everything.  Go to the Wikipedia page and read about the Battle of Suomussalmi (link here) and check the losses on both sides – 50% losses for the Soviets and less than 10% for the Finns.

To create a reminder of this I did a few terrain features with dead Sovietic soldiers (I keep on using this term as the soldiers in the Red army were not only of Russian nationality).  They were based on Peter Pig casualty markers (based on anything with a great coat and headswaps to pointy Russian hats and early war helmets).

 

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Some Casualties, clay, stones and twigs from the garden

 

…and here with some painting, winterization and blood (sorry!).

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Suppression Markers

These are based on the concept of snow flying around as bullets hit the area.  I used something called Universal Cooker Hood Filter to do the effect. It is like cotton but much stronger, I attached a part of it with superglue and when dry I dragged it out and trimmed it. I also added a little bit of snow flock carefully on the cloud.  I think they do the job well enough.

 

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Ivan with his LMG is under fire and splinters are flying from the tree stump
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A simpler construction
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Snow splashing around a stone
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The full collection

Explosion Markers

I have seen explosions markers made out of clump foliage and wanted to make some for the winter war table as it will contrasts nicely with the snowy background, and also have some practical game purpose.  So I searched around the net for some ideas and found a few different options.

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Ivan successfully rolled 12 saving throws

I made my set of  explosion markers by following the recipe by the Terrain Tutor (link here).  Always excellent, this time he blew me away again!

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Terrain Tutor – check him out! Excellent.

 

I also had a game of Gaslands with my micro cars! (using 50% templates), and it was great, but more on that another time.

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/ All the best (yes I know I should be doing GNW!)

Featured

2017 ending 2018 coming!

 

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Swedish attack on Saxon defensive position (Baccus Miniatures) with seasonal flair. The Swedish tactics of just marching on with resolve and in silence and then throw their snowballs, or perhaps fire their muskets, at short distance followed by a full on charge is just about to be implemented.  The most important factor to the outcome is the morale and resolve of the Saxons who are desperately firing away at the Swedes – will they stand to the Swedish onslaught or shit themselves and run away?

A long one again, sorry…but a lot of pictures…

 I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.

This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year.  My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped.  I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence.  That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.

With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time.  The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.

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Saga at Joy of Six 2016

Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.

The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches.  In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant.  It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above.  This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here).  A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.

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Each line a unit of 12 men. You loose one man you take away a single base, you loose one more (2 in total) you take away another single base, you loose another man (3 in total) you put the single base back and take away a base with two, and so on. Simple and I promise less fiddly and complicated than you are currently thinking.
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I only did 1 and 2 miniature bases for the Lancers (8 in each units) but it still works with the same principles as above.

Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it.   Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!

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2 by 2 feet table
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Ottoman Cavalry charging the Russian Dragoons who were supposed to protect the wagons.  1-2-3 basing system in use (Baccus and Perfect Six)

Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.

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As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences.  I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).

On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system.  I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us.  The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean.  I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.

The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.

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Gaming on the Doormat!

 

We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf,  Maurice, to mention a few.  I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more.  I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.

 

I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.

Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.

Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.

The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this).  This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.

I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here).  I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.

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The field of Battle for Horka (link to it in the text above)
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Figuring out the battlefield for Horka

Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi  (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break.  It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.

The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi.  In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy.  Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence.  The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave  warriors.  With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith.  The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice.  They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path. 

Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”

I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.

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Still from the Movie Tuntematon sotilas [Unknown Soldier] (2017). Vänrikki Kariluoto readying a grenade during some trench fighting and Corporal Rokka getting ready to charge in and clean the next stretch of trench with his Suomi KP/-31 Submachine Gun.  Corporal Rokka is a typical example of a Big Man and a Veteran of the Winter War.

 I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year.  Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting.  I will not fail these platoons this year.  I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here.  I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better).  I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.

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Some of the Finns I prepared – an Engineering Section. The NCO is screaming – “Why the hell did you paint us and left us spend the whole year fully winter dressed in a box! Get your bloody act together!, or perhaps he is screaming Mitä helvettiä?, Levitä laardi! (What the hell?, spread the Lard!)

Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.

I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases.  I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here.  I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and  I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.

Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here).  I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.

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Perry’s 95th Riflemen but not like you are used seeing them. Proud soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth army, a mix of pure humans, mutants and mutated animals, on a rescue mission to a forbidden zone.  Crocodile head from the Crooked dice and high tech rifle from my old bit box (?).

 

I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).

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These Ladies would be part of a small security unit frozen in Cryonics freezers and woken up when the level of radiation had reached a survivable level. Now they have found a harsh and wild world, but they still have some powerful weapons, plenty of ammunition and their power packs are fully charged.
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In one of the classical adventures for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant that is the inspiration to this project, called Nekropolis, the PCs have an encounter with a group of rats.  This gang is my homage to those guys.

 

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The Original Picture from the scenario – Nekropolis, den Grå Döden Del 1, 1985, TAMB Äventyrspel AB

Gaslands (6mm) 

Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.

This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories).  This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here).  Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.

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50% movement templates with the 6mm cars.

In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.

I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.

Some thanks and then I will let you go

I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.

Meeples and Miniatures – solid show, like a Volvo of the 240 series. Solid running top notch quality!

The Too Fat Lardies Oddcasts – effortless delivery of wargaming wisdom! Only 4 episodes so far but it feels like it has been around for ages.

Veteran Wargamer – excellent! Jay has definitely helped me make my gaming more fun!

WSS Podcast – at times feels like listening to one of those annuals I got as a kid, great stuff!

Wargames Recon – enthusiasm can go a long way, this one goes miles!

If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show.  If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there.  The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.

Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it.  At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up.  Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.

I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.

Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done!   Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!

Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally.  I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.

Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby!  Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year.  Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it.  The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry!  Here is a link to the video on YouTube.

/ All the best and see you in 2018

Featured

More Post-Apocalypso and an Alternative Longish Jingle for Meeples and Miniatures

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Following from the last post I have now received the 6mm post apocalyptic stuff I talked about last time, painted a lot of it already (4 “factions”), and I also had a trial game of the Road Wolf Rules with the little one (see more here for a background to this diversion).

I found a few compatibility issues between and within the ranges I used, but I will write about this in a future posting.

Irregular Miniatures Mad Ron Set and Bikes from Microworld Games

This is the first set I painted and this will be two factions – one called the “Metalheads” consisting of metal loving petrol heads with fine combat cars (from Irregular Miniatures) and the other being the “Bikers” (made from Bikes from Microworld apart from two from the Irregular Miniatures Mad Ron set). They work really well together.  I have another set of combat cars I will paint up a little more randomly with colour scheme to represent the more Punkish gang, but that is yet to come!.

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The Law

This is versions of the Bushmaster and a Truck from Heroics & Ros with an interceptor vehicle from Microworld games (this is the one of their new vehicles).  This is some kind of Police force still trying to retain law and order or something like that!

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The Mob

These are the more stylish bad bunch driving around in heavy limos (Onslaught Miniatures – order through Vanguard) and some more mobile off-roadish cars to support the main body (from the new Microworld Range).  I also include a Bush Master to the column – stowage based on some offcuts and piece from Perfect Six (link here).  They are know to offer protection to the various settlement in the wasteland and their Leader is know as Don Key Le Ono.

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Tryin Out Road Wolf

As for the Road Wolf Rules, I and the Little One had a go at it (we actually had two games) and we really enjoyed it.  We played hunter and hunted scenario and as I said before the cars only do relative moves and the last move every round is done by the road, whereby obstacles that are randomly generated and appears at one end are moved down the board. These obstacles are done as cards, but instead we made bases to represent wrecks, debris, tunnel, oil spills, etc. We had a good time and these rules are really fun and you can download them and all the markers you need here (thanks Sean Patten for these!).  The rules works perfectly at this scale and remember the board is 40cm by 20cm at 6mm scale – proper travel sized road battle. We just used a 2cm movement stick and it worked.  Yes the bases are bulky and could be improved, but we really had a blast with it as it is.  Here as some pictures from one of the games (I had only painted the Metalheads and Bikes at this stage) with the Little One and we got a thumbs up in the end – all is good.

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A Meeples and Miniatures Jingle

Warning:

  • Stop reading here if,
    • …you are not more than familiar with the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast as most of what follows will not make sense.
    • …you have a normal sense of humour as this is verging on the slippery iceberg of nonsense.

Remember that You were warned!

You may be aware I am a fan of the Miniature and Meeples podcast (more here), it has been playing in the background of many of my hobby sessions and le(a)d me astray on strange purchases over the last few years.  They are also all-round nice blokes.

I found myself sitting on the train the other day – one of those delayed ones, a seriously delayed one.  My iPad battery was flat and my phone had a battery percentage that would not even pass as a weak lager. I did something as novel as flipped through a free magazine and my middle-aged rage seemed to wake up by the reflection on the earliness of all this Christmassy stuff.  I am a great fan of Christmas when it is Christmas!  But I need to hold that thought for a moment.

Next too me sat three young university students, wonderfully enthusiastic and discussing some assignment in creative writing they had, which was to write some short advertising text for something that meant something to them.  I looked out of the window and felt Creactive and got my Laptop up and asked them if I could join in, then I wrote this – a seasonal jingle for the Meeples and Miniatures Fabulous Four (being the Three Wise men and the Guru!), with some hints to some other associated companies, people and other related stuff.  Merry Meepleness to you all! I got so into it that it actually cheered me up and when I finally looked up from the screen the students had fallen fast asleep!

Three Wise Meeps

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away three of the wisest of the Meeps were on yet another exciting Geek Tour.  The tour was in fact a search mission, loosely based on a linear scenario thread called “Finding Guru” from the book by the Rogue Merchant of recycled shampoo bottles.  They had been given their mission by a multi-headed, and to be perfectly honest too fat, lardish bloke on the veranda of the St. Albanjo Inn. The Albanjo was an excellent inn and did the best tasting Mead, Cyder and Ale in the Meeplands and the view from its veranda was simply breathtaking. They also served culinary delights from far afield and the menu included dishes from the exotic lands of Dahlia. Two of the most famous dishes were the phenomenal banana oil infused Imaginuts from Mahradur and the Pointless Pancakes from the Mountainous Island of Lankasri. The innkeeper was allegedly called Henri but no one was sure, as they never had seen him, as he liked to hide.

One of the Lardish man’s heads had offered them a good basic remuneration for their services whilst some of the other heads offered stretch goals if they did better than expected. The mission was simple: find Guru Luff (Hail Guru Luff!) who had left his Temple of Restrain – also called the Luffschuck on Meeplestrasse 52B.  Why the Guru (Hail Guru Luff!) had gone was long forgotten. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for many, many episodes, over the seasons the reasons passed out of all knowledge.  There were whispers, in places few mortal beings dared to go, that he (Hail Guru Luff!) was seeking penitence for the secret little affair known as the Dungeon Saga Excess.  There were also other rumours of him (Hail Guru Luff!) getting involved in the wrong way with the crime family Don Key Le Ono, who were heading the Thieves Guild in the City of Dilution. They had to search deep, very deep, to find him.

The Lardish man gave them the following advice – Trust no-one!, stay alert!, keep your dice handy! Do not roll ones!.  They could see something emotional in his many eyes and this was game-mechanically-represented by a few shock markers being placed next to him.

Their journey since then had been eventful and they had even managed to move more than six inches (before Gerry had a go) through the 7th continent.  They had travelled through the seemingly never-ending Desert of Gaming Dilution (where death had tried to hook them up for a game of combat chess), avoided the temptation of sausages, survived the many things that falls from shelves during firestorms, being attacked by the dreaded balls, outfoxed the Desert Fox, withstood an imperial assault, endured lengthy Open Combat sessions, repelled an attack from Mars although it was commonly believed that all had gone quiet on the Martian front, survived a night at the Mansion of Madness, and suffered the relentless chase of the mighty Barbarian.

A butterfly landed on his stretched out hand and he could see a myriad of colours, patterns and shapes on its wings. He was known as the undisputed, or at least as one of the many, Welsh Wizard(s) and was the most industrious of the Meeps and with his magic could control shelves to his advantage and summon big boxes of stuff that appeared from nowhere. He was known from the Epic Sagas and had recently assembled five fantastic armies to do his bidding and had a not-so-secret-project-anymore to conquer this fantasy world.  Tiredness had been a problem for weeks, but this very morning he had realised that he had forgotten to deactivate three fatigue markers he had been carrying in his backpack all this time.  The markers had been thrown away and now he felt as fresh and reborn as that fashionable Wizard from the commercials who had changed his clothes line of robes from greyish to nice glowing whites! Oh Lord, that jingle was still ringing in his ears!

The most sensible of the Meeps, the Troubadour was riding on one of the Godfather’s unpainted Norman horses in front of the others.  He carefully swallowed the last pieces of a cake he had snatched from a master baker in Linnius – it was delicious indeed.  He picked up his lute from the saddle bag and started to play a nice little melody.  The lute was a precision instrument and dimensionally printed thrice on a flat G bed – it did sound very nice although the Wizard was still sceptical to the tonal quality of something created with mere technology and not by pure welsh magic.

The Troubadour suddenly burst into his best tune “I aint been Dunked yet Mama, and by the Way here are the dates for the Herewards Wargames Show this year”, an allegorical song about the adventures of a Digestive Biscuit and its fear of being dunked, based on the true story of a young spearman. The lyrics had been revised many times following heated discussions with the Wizard and a Veteran Cookie who had known the spearman.

“I aint been dunked yet Mama, neither in Coffee nor in Tea, I aint been dunked yet Mama, my outer layers are still as hard as they can be!, I aint been dunked yet Mama, the blinds of the dunkers is getting pretty near, I aint been dunked yet Mama, I wish I was a Big Man not a boy with this fear…..”  

The last of the Meeps was perhaps the foremost of them all and he had been the longest serving disciple of the Great Guru (Hail Guru Luff!).  He sat in concentration and pushed his hand forward and flicked his hand to the right and pushed it forward again, he repeated he movement again and again – Never was he going to fail in opening a door again!.  He was too tall to be a dwarven warrior and had instead decided to become an Imperial Storm Trooper.  However his dream was short-lived as he was successful in completing his marksmanship course and consequently thrown out.

Since then he had tried to spread the word of Wargaming to the world. In the beginning it was not easy and he had been lonely and he had to whisper his messages. But he slowly acquired companions along the way to help him on his quest and the number of followers grew. Now he had a strong following and did not need to whisper anymore, he could now speak up and stand proud. It was full on charge from here on and forward! He was now the Godfather of all things Meeply and Small!

“I aint been dunked yet Mama, the beverage has not sucked the air out of me, I aint been dunked yet Mama, the more….. “

Scratch!

…..That’s enough of that, they are really good!…

/ See you later

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Dreadballs of Fire and waiting for Command and Colors Tricorne

Sometimes the work-life balance does not swing favourably in terms of time left to do hobby related activities. This week, and I suspect the next week, will be one of those times.

The little time I did have this week was spent progressing on the Rats for Dreadball and they are now ready for some detailing. When they are done it will give a full Season One painted set-up with 4 teams (including the a full complement of MVPs).  Not great paint jobs but far better than the base grey colour of the plastic and I managed to do it in about 3 weeks of limited hobby time.  The fact that the Little One is into it as well makes it more motivational to crack on with.

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The Little One and I had a few good games of Dreadball using two human teams to get to grips of the rules – and we really like it.  I really recommend the series of videos by Andy2D6 on YouTube, the first one “How To Play DreadBall – Part One: The Board” can be found here.

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Very straightforward Tutorials on the Basic Game of Dreadball by Andy2D6

The following are a few shots from the games we played.  The Little ones blue guys was a bonus we got when we bought another base set of eBay – to add a few more Season 2 teams cheaply.  As per usual he rolled high and I rolled low, his Jacks (all-rounders) were as good slammers as my Guards (heavy hitters) and his ability to use the Strikers was very inspirational.  Nevertheless after a few games we got a nice flow and we really enjoy playing it (did I say we like it?).

 

Since I prefer my hat Tricorne I have been looking forward to the latest version of the Command and Colors rules (e.g. Memoirs 44 and Command and Colors Ancients) called Tricorne Command and Colors – The American Revolution.  I got my copy from Boardgameguru (see here) and I think that is the best deal currently on the net (or at least that I found browsing around).   I have to admit that I felt that the price was a little bit steep but I had already made my mind up and I suspect the first print run will sell out fast and then it will cost even more to get hold of a copy later.

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The rules booklet is downloadable here.   The following scenarios are covered:

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Extract from the Rules and Scenario Booklet

The following units are included (as the classical wooden blocks) to play the scenarios and I am tempted to do something with it in 6mm – at some point in the future. Baccus make all the miniatures needed (link to their AWI range here) and I think it would look absolutely fantastic.

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Extract from the Rules and Scenario Booklet

/ I hope it will be like a Carlsberg – Worth waiting for!  Incidentally I am also waiting for some magnets I have ordered to push on with the Rommel bases (see previous post here).  Have a good week!

 

 

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Skirmish Wargames Show, DreadBalling and some Great Britons

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This was a nice weekend indeed, Saturday was spent driving around the Kentish/Sussex countryside and we went to Chartwell House (Churchill’s family home) and Penhurst Place (The Sidney’s family home for more than 460 years) – both well worth a visit.  On the way home we ended up in the Blacksmith Arms (in Cudham) where the comedian Harry Relph was born (1887 to 1928). He performed under the stage name “Little Tich” and was (amongst other things) famous for his routine with very long shoes (see a video here). They had his famous shoes on display in the pub – equally impressive with the Wellington boots we reported on some time ago (see here).  I knew immediately who he was as I had ended up listening to his 1910 recording “What a Risky thing to do” (see here) looking for some background music for a Call of Cthulhu campaign many moons ago.  A great, although not very tall, Briton (a Wikipedia write-up here).  I had a pint in his honour before we embarked on the short journey home.  I suppose you can do your own research on that other great Briton Churchill, if he is not familiar to you ;).

On the Sunday I went to the Skirmish Wargames show in Sidcup run by Redcoat Models(see here) – a small wargames show that occurs twice a year. I did not count the number of traders but call it 15 with about the same amount of wargames tables. The theme was Napoleonics and probably 1 in 4 of the tables were Napoleonic offerings.  I did not take many pictures but here is what drew my interest. I had a good time.

 

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The action around Utitsa from the Borondino 1812 Battle, by North London Wargames Group – 6mm action!

 

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Skirmish Wargames presented a 45mm scale skirmish battle using their “Tales of Derring Do!” rules involving Richard Sharpe and his Rifles, Spanish Guerillas, a female spy and some French Soldiers too.  It looked like everyone had a good time.  There was even a Film Crew present!

 

I played a game with John, who was running a fictional Battle in India with a Sikh uprising supported by French advisors (and some troops) against the British, using the Fire and Fury rules.  John had not laid on a table for 15 years but it did look good when it was all set up.  We used activation for getting reinforcements on the table but we both failed miserably but when we were successful John seemed to be able to get more out of each reinforcement wave – typically the French (yours truly) “spawned” one or two units whilst the British managed to get 6 to 10 units on the table.  It was fun and I managed to get a cavalry unit into the British outpost and steal a cannon.  However, the luck was only short-lived as they ran into a strong group of light infantry (Riflemen). One of those games that gets that narrative kick that makes all the difference in my view.  Many thanks John!, I think the game was yours 😉 .. Great fun.

Finally I had a nice chat with Glen Hardy of Art of War Shirts.  Glen has recently launched his business selling a nice selection of t-shirts that I think some of you may find nice – what I like is that they are nice designs and less in your face than some other offerings.  Do check out his webpage and get a few and/or let your better half and your mates know what you would like for Christmas (you know that any hard ones will be in the wrong scale or period anyway!).  Here is a link to his page.

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As for any progress this week I am slowly doing some DreadBall miniatures (yes I did get a few more teams). Doing Forge fathers and some MVPs this week but no progress on Rommel stuff.   The Better One said to me the other day “I did not know you were into this game now!”, “Been working on it for years!”, I answered back having just ordered a few more teams on eBay.

I based the Forge Father colour scheme of my favourite Swedish Coffee Brand Löfbergs Lila. Purple with some green detailing for strikers, yellow for jacks, red for guards and blue for the Keeper.  Can you smell the nice aroma?

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Talking about Great Britons, I could not avoid to reflect on the likeness with one of the MVPs and a very famous TV personality that recently passed away.  Anyway I let you reflect on your own.

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/ “Nice to see you, to see you nice!”, until next week!